The organization of Nigerian, civil service is greatly influenced by her experience with Britain as her former colonial master. It is patterned alongside British structure, except for certain modifications, necessitated by administrative exigencies, structural demands and political considerations.
The civil service is organized in a pyramidal form with upper echelon, down to the lowest ranks. It is horizontally structured into classes, and vertically spread into ministries and departments. The ministries and departments differ considerably with administrative, it differs in nature, number and departments from state to state and from federal to states government. There are ministries of Agriculture, education, Health, Industries, Information, Culture, Sport Youth and Social Development, Finance, Justice, Lands And Survey, Trade And Commence etc, and several departments with specific functions. The Ministries make it possible for the civil service to functionally perform their statutory responsibilities. The organization of the ministries makes for grouped functional units, occupational specializations.
However, the civil service its their structure, retrains the following classes, namely, the administrative, executive secretary, professional, clerical, technical, and manipulative and miscellaneous class.
1. Administrative Class
This class consists of the permanent secretaries, Deputy permanent Secretary directors and Assistant Directors. The permanent Secretary is the administrative head of the Ministry, and holds the top most rank in the class, which is seen as the upper echelon of the civil service. They articulate and formulate policies which, are presented to the political class for approval and considerations. They are also concerned with the general administration and implementation of decisions. They hold tremendous influence on the political class through their immediate contacts and regular advice. They coordinate the activities of civil servants under them, providing the leadership, which ensures conformity to civil service rules and standards.
The nature of the work of this class demands a high degree of integrity, mental discipline, diligence and mental ability to cope with the exacting and challenging demands of the class. As such, the entry requirement to the class includes includes, a university degree, professional qualification or promotion from within the organization. The members of the class are not in any way expected to hold the membership of any political party. They are not expected to display political party inclination in the discharge of their duties.
2. The Executive Class
It is a very strategic class, that holds the responsibility of executing or implementing the policies of government. It is an intermediate class, with initiative and judgment over assigned roles from the administrative class. They exercise supervisory and control functions over the junior staff officers under them. And in most cases as may be demanded by administrative exigencies, they investigate and make decisions on administrative matters. This class comprises of the principal Executive officers, Senior Executive officers, Higher Executive officers and Assistant Executive officers. The entry qualifications into the executive class include, Advanced level general certificate of Education, Higher School certificate, National Diploma etc.
There also exists, direct appointment or promotion of people from the lower ranks into this class. This is done through competitive written examinations, oral interviews and trainings, given by the training and development department of the ministry of establishment.
3. The Clerical Class
This is the administrative base of the civil service, that handles the routine performance of work in the ministeries and departments. They update data and keep records of official letters, documents, and memos etc.
The scrutimize returns and claims, receive and dispatch letter on behalf of the ministry, based on assignments, instructions and regulations from the higher echelon. The class comprises of the chief clerical officers, senior clerical officers, clerical officers and clerical Assistants. The clerical class is filled with senior school certificate (SSCE) or General certificate of Education (GCE) holders, with evidence of completion of their secondary education. Those who aforementioned qualification examination may be recruited into the sub-clerical grade of clerical Assistants.
4. The Secretarial Class
This class comprises the stenographers, chief typist, senior typist, typists of grade I, II and III most of who performed duties as confidential secretaries and personal secretaries. They play vital role in promoting effective communication and keeping of records in the service. They are responsible for secretarial and stenographic work such as typing, duplication and documentation of government records.
The basic requirements for entrying to this class are proficiency in English Language, ordinary Level, general certificate of Education (GCE O’level) or the senior school certificate (SSCE), Royal Society of Arts (RSA), National Board on Technical Education Examination (NABTEB), and similar qualifications. Equally, with developments in contemporary governance, proficiency in computer knowledge is grossly essential. Also, series of in-service training courses are regularly organized for members and new entrants to the class. This helps to improve their professional skills, enhance efficiency and competence with their works.
5. The Professional Class
This is purely a professional class that renders professional and specialist service in the civil service. They are experts in their chosen professional callings. They are recruited based on their professional and specialized skill and qualification, to render services in those areas in the civil service. They include the medical doctors, pharmacists, architects, lawyers, Engineers, Surveryors, accountants, educationists, etc. They also provide technical and professional advise to the political and administrative classes, based on their areas of specialization. They directly supervise and coordinate the activities of the technical class.
However, the professional class holds grades that are parallel with that of the administrative class. They equally hold the potentials to attain the highest pinnacle of the civil service.
6. The Technical Class
They are technical and technological officers who help to execute the plans and programmes drawn by the professional class. They are supporting staff of the professional class and they handle technical and technological matters. Their services include constructions; work in the laboratories, handling of electrical and mechanical appliances health and environmental inspections, etc.
The entry qualifications into the class vary widely to the varieties of skills needed for such services by the ministries and departments in government. The certification for new entrants are usually proficencies in a particular technical area, A scondary school educaion is an added advantage to the new entrant.
7. The Manipulative Or Miscellaneous Class
This is the class that renders menial and essential services in the ministry and government departments. They render manipulative services such as driving official cars cleaning offices and the environments, ensuring security of government property, delivering mails and messages, and undertaking minor errands and official chores in the services.
This class constitutes the junior workers or the lower echelon of the civil service. They are mainly the drivers, security men, messengers, gardeners, cleaners, dispatch riders etc. They are usually employed on the basis of certain considerations which may be peculiar to the job specification. Some of the jobs require special skills (such as driving), and the relevant qualifications or lincence, while others, merely require physical fitness or ability and knowledge of the requirement of the particular job.
The Nigerian Civil Service has been organized to reflect these classes and structure over the years of its dominant existence. This structural arrangement is for good organization, efficiency and performance. The various reforms did not fundamentally affect the classifications, rather are mere modification of the operational procedure, to enhance performance and reduction of bureaucratic bottlenecks. The 1988 civil service reform attempted the abolition of this classification, which was reversed by subsequent reforms. Subsequent chapters would elicit the influence of the reforms on the classification of the Nigerian Civil Service.